My new friend Chuck, over at Confessions of a Small-Church Pastor, has a fascinating blog going about the challenges and joys of serving in the small church setting. Most classify small church as any under 300 attendance in worship services. To me, 300 is big…my church is 60.
I suppose you could classify even further down…small churches, quite small, very small, super small, mega-small. Each presents its own struggles, as do all larger churches as well.
One of our greatest struggles is retaining young families. We are primarily an”older”congregation; I would put the average age at 60. And the laws of age dictate that unless the church grows younger, it will pass away in 10 years or so. So, the leadership of this church determined to attempt to connect with younger families, in hopes of “growing younger.” One of the first things they did was hire me.
But this “growing younger” has proven to be much more difficult than I anticipated. We have several young families in the community in which our church is located. And several of them have visited us. But the first thing a guest does when visiting a church is look around at all the people and think to themselves, “Is there anyone here like me?” If the person thinking that thought is 28 years old, married or not, with young children…it would be hard to find many people in our church who fit that demographic. I do. And I am the minister, so that counts for something. But, by and large, there are not many there like our guest.
I look for ideas to address this issue. If you have some, I’d love to hear them…please post a comment. I’m not griping…each church faces its own challenges. But I do hope to share some of those challenges here, look for ideas, dialogue with others in the same boat. If you’re in the boat, you have to check out Chuck’s blog…he is doing the smaller church a great service.